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Chelsea Manning, the former US soldier who served seven years in military prison after instigating one of the biggest breaches of classified data in US history, has said she has been barred from entering Canada. On Monday, Manning posted on Twitter a report from the Canadian government that identified her as a foreign national “who has not been authorized to enter Canada” due to prior convictions. “So, I guess Canada has permanently banned me?” wrote Manning – one of the most prominent whistleblowers of modern times.
On a more human level, it would be interesting to go back in time to World Wars I and II, where a constant refrain of the sailors and airmen who hunted subs was the sheer tedium of the search. Hour after hour after hour of scanning the oceans, in the hope that a needle in the haystack would reveal itself as a sonar contact or a tiny periscope peeking above the surface. If nothing else, farming out sub-hunting to the robots will make chasing subs a bit less dull.
By Toni Clarke (Reuters) - (The Sept. 22 story has been corrected to remove the reference to Humira being a Jak-inhibitor in the final paragraph. Humira is a TNF-inhibitor.) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has declined to approve Johnson & Johnson's rheumatoid arthritis drug sirukumab, saying additional clinical data is needed to further evaluate its safety, the company said on Friday. The FDA's decision is in keeping with an advisory panel's recommendation in August that the FDA reject the drug.
While the United States federal government threatens to backslide on renewable energy, California and China continue to move at an aggressive pace to lead the world in zero-emission vehicles. As the global market for electric and plug-in car grows, battery production will need to increase dramatically to match demand. It's expected that electric-vehicle batteries will become a $240 billion industry, and China has already begun to cement itself as a leader in battery production.
This is the terrible moment that a fighter pilot lost his life after crashing his Eurofighter into the sea during an air show off the coast of Italy. Capt Gabriele Orlandi, 36, was attempting to perform a loop-the-loop in his 85million euro Eurofighter Typhoon when he apparently misjudged the manoeuvre and smashed into the water, a few hundred yards from the coast. The Italian air force pilot was performing the stunt in front of a large crowd that included his girlfriend and his parents at the air show in Terracina, south of Rome. The Eurofighter was executing a spectacular loop-the-loop when it crashed into the sea Credit: NurPhoto His girlfriend had to be taken to hospital and treated for severe shock. Capt Orlandi died on impact and his body was recovered by navy divers. He had more than a decade’s experience as a pilot and had trained in the United States with American Top Gun flyers. The pilot died on impact Credit: NurPhoto The air show was immediately suspended after the accident and two investigations were opened, one by the air force and another by civilian magistrates in the nearby town of Latina. “A day of joy turned into a day of great sadness,” said General Enzo Vecciarelli, a senior air force commander. “Our deepest condolences go to the relatives of Capt Orlandi.”
This is the mesmerizing image of a colorful Milky Way shining down on Mount Fuji. Steve Lance Lee, 37, captured the sky above the iconic mountain whilst on his honeymoon in Lake Kawaguchiko, Japan. Mount Fuji is illuminated underneath the galaxy of stars, creating an impressive landscape. (Caters News)
Russian state agents have committed serious abuses, including torture, in Crimea, the UN said Monday, warning that the rights situation in the annexed peninsula had "significantly deteriorated" under Moscow's occupation. In a fresh report, the UN human rights agency said that Russia's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula in March 2014 had set off a broad crackdown targeting Ukrainian institutions and culture. The report found evidence of "grave human rights violations, such as arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, ill-treatment and torture, and at least one extra-judicial execution", the UN statement said.
Police on Monday arrested a 20-year-old man in Wales in connection with the London Underground train bombing this month, bringing the number of people in custody to four. The man was arrested before dawn by counter-terrorism officers in the Welsh capital Cardiff and has been taken to a police station in London for questioning. An 18-year-old man, Ahmed Hassan, was charged on Friday with attempted murder and the use of explosives.
Despite claims made in her recent book, the news editors at the paper were never hostile to Clinton. In her book, Hillary Clinton says the news media has not done enough soul-searching about its role in her loss. Conversely, there was way too little scrutiny of Donald Trump and too much reactive coverage of his every tweet and rally.
Ah, Costco: Where you can buy your wedding cake, and eat it there too. As Sue Berkeley and Eli Bob from Sydney, Australia, did, when they got married in the Casula store in front of 90 of their friends and family on Saturday. SEE ALSO: Wedding guest shares photo of five other people wearing same dress While it might not be the most romantic of locations, the couple said they spend a lot of time in the aisles of the bulk buy supermarket, and so the choice to have it there came naturally. "I get to spend another day at Costco, that I love," Berkeley told A Current Affair. "Where else can I get married to the one I love, in a place that I love, surrounded by the people I love." A post shared by Richard Smith (@rps88a) on Sep 22, 2017 at 10:58pm PDT A post shared by Nick Triantafillou (@xelfer) on Sep 22, 2017 at 5:47pm PDT And so Berkeley walked down the aisle, past the tyre department, to exchange their vows in the food court. We haven't even got to the best part of the whole affair, and that's the food: It cost the couple under A$10 a head to feed the wedding, which consists of the admittedly droolworthy Costco food court staples like pizza, hot dogs and pies. Oh, and unlimited fountain soda, of course. While the couple aren't the first to marry in a Costco, they're certainly the first in Australia to do so. If you are looking to have your next wedding in one, the offer of a Costco wedding is for "special guests" only, sadly for the rest of us mere mortals hoping for an all-you-can-eat feast at the supermarket... oh and true love, of course. WATCH: Take a 'cell-fie' using your phone and this small microscope adapter
North Korean state media has released a new video depicting the destruction of US aircraft and warships and warning that any attack on the North will see US forces "head to the grave". The 99-second clip was released on Sunday by the DPRK Today news site, just hours after two US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flew off the coast of North Korea in a show of force. Accompanied by US fighters based in Okinawa, the bombers flew further north of the Demilitarised Zone that divides the Korean Peninsula than any US military aircraft in the 21st century, according to the Pentagon. A screenshot of the North Korean video showing the US carrier being blown up The North Korean propaganda video begins with pictures of President Donald Trump, describing him as a "mad man". It goes on to show a series of Pukguksong missiles being fired from mobile launch vehicles before an F-35 Raptor fighter and a nuclear-capable Lancer bomber are destroyed by computer-generated explosions. The footage goes on to show a missile being fired from a submerged submarine before striking the USS Carl Vinson. The 103,000-tonne aircraft carrier is the flagship of Carrier Strike Croup 1 and conducted drills with another nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, off North Korea in June. North Korean missile ranges It has also carried out exercises, utilising its 90 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters, with Korean navy units. The footage shows USS Carl Vinson engulfed in flames after the missile strike, with subtitles stating, "Should F-35, B-1B or the Carl Vinson lead the US attack, they will head to the grave in that order". Trump: We'll deal with 'Little Rocket Man' Kim Jong-u 01:34
An autopsy report has revealed how a model was scalped and drained of blood, in a murder branded unprecedented “outside of wartime”. Comic book writer Blake Leibel, 35, is charged with the murder of the mother of his child, Ukrainian-born Iana Kasian, 30. The murder took place in May last year and Mr Leibel, the heir to a plastics and property fortune, could be given the death sentence if found guilty, due to the severity of the crime.
An Egyptian believed to be the world's heaviest woman died Monday of heart and kidney failure at an Abu Dhabi hospital, following months of treatment to help her lose weight and one day walk again. A team of more than 20 doctors had been caring for the bedridden Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty, 37, since her arrival at Burjeel Hospital in May. El Aty first sought treatment in India, travelling from the port city of Alexandria to Mumbai aboard a specially modified Airbus in early February.
Chancellor Angela Merkel clinched a fourth term in Germany's election Sunday, but her victory was clouded by the entry into parliament of the hard-right AfD in the best showing for a nationalist force since World War II. Merkel, who after 12 years in power held a double-digit lead for most of the campaign, scored around 33 percent of the vote with her conservative Christian Union (CDU/CSU) bloc, according to preliminary results. Its nearest rivals, the Social Democrats and their candidate Martin Schulz, came in a distant second, with a post-war record low of 21 percent.
What was supposed to be his four-day Woodstock at the University of California turned out to be his alt-right Fyre Festival. As he admitted defeat, he promised an “unofficial” rally for his followers on Sunday, effectively mobilizing hordes of counterprotesters, anti-fascists and anyone in his far-right brigade brave enough to face them. The “rally” at Sproul Plaza on campus brought hundreds of demonstrators out, including Antifa activists and Yiannopoulos supporters.
Myanmar's army said Sunday it had discovered a mass grave containing the bodies of 28 Hindus, including women and children, in violence-wracked Rakhine state, blaming the killings on Muslim Rohingya militants. Thousands of Hindus have fled villages where they once lived alongside Muslims, alleging that they were targeted by militants whose August 25 raids plunged Rakhine into communal violence. The announcement could not be independently verified in an region where access has been tightly controlled by Myanmar's army.
Masoud Barzani, president of Iraqi Kurdistan, was last night defiant over his decision to hold a controversial referendum on independence, even as its neighbour Iran mounted pressure by closing its airspace and launching military drills on the border. Tehran announced on Sunday it was blocking all flights to and from Kurdistan at the request of ally Iraq, which has described the secession vote as “unconstitutional” and warned that it could fan the flames of tensions in the Middle East. Some five million Kurds will go to the polls today in the three provinces that have since 2003 formed the autonomous region of Kurdistan, but also in territories disputed with Baghdad such as the oil-rich province of Kirkuk. Mr Barzani, a 71-year-old guerilla leader-turned-politician who enjoys something of a cult of personality in Kurdistan, has mustered huge popular support for the vote. The streets of Erbil, Kurdistan’s capital, are festooned with red, white and green Kurdish flags and large crowds holding nightly rallies. The Kurds - more than 30 million people spread across Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria - have long sought a state of their own. The result seems a foregone conclusion. A woman flashes the V-sign as Iraqi Kurds take part in a rally to urge people to vote in the upcoming independence referendum Credit: SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images But with not just Baghdad, Iran and Turkey but also the US and UN opposing the vote, there is little hope that dream will be quickly realised in Iraq. Instead, observers say, Mr Barzani is using the referendum as leverage in the Kurdish Regional Government's longstanding disputes with federal authorities. “Our relationship with Baghdad is over, it is no longer working,” Mr Barzani told reporters during a press conference at the presidential palace in the mountains outside Erbil. Supporters wave flags and chant slogans inside the Erbil Stadium while waiting to hear Kurdish President Masoud Barzani speak Credit: Chris McGrath/Getty Images “Iraq has humiliated our people (…) They have galvanised the Iraqi people against Kurdistan." He said he had hoped for a better relationship with Baghdad after the fall in 2003 of the late iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who arrested, tortured and killed tens of thousands of Kurds during his rule. “We had a hope our relationship with Baghdad would improve, based on pluralism and democracy. But it didn’t take us long to realise that while the faces of the politicians changed, their mentality was the same,” he said. When asked why the vote could not be delayed, as the international community has repeatedly requested, Mr Barzani said: "We cannot wait another year, they will not change their mind, it will only strengthen their position." Some Kurds the Telegraph spoke to said they were planning to vote “yes” at the polls today, but worried about the consequences. “Our course we want our own country, to stand on our own, but I am scared about how our neighbours will respond,” said student Ahmed Rasol. “We will not have security in the future if we have no friends.”
US forces carried out six "precision air strikes" against an Islamic State camp in Libya, killing 17 people, the US Africa Command said Sunday. The command said the air strikes were conducted on Friday, in coordination with Libya's Government of National Accord, hitting a desert camp 150 miles (240 kilometers) southeast of the city of Sirte. The air strikes were believed to be the first in Libya by US forces since US President Donald Trump took office in January.
The German election takes place this Sunday, with Chancellor Angela Merkel heavy favourite to defend her position against Martin Schulz for a fourth term in power. Polls currently show that Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party - with its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) - will be the largest party after the Bundestag election on 24 September, but they will fall short of a majority. This is common in Germany, and so the resulting parliament is in part determined by how the smaller parties perform, and which coalition possibilities will be born. German election poll tracker How does the German voting system work? Each person casts two votes in the Bundestag election, to allocate a total of 598 seats. Half of these are to elect a local MP by constituency, in a first-past-the-post fashion. The remaining 299 votes are elected via party lists, allocated near-proportionately to the party vote share in each of Germany’s 16 federal states. To be included in this seat allocation process, a party must achieve five per cent of the national vote. 2013 German Federal Election Results Map This second round of seat allocation also means that the total number of MPs can be higher, with politicians elected in "overhang seats" in order to balance the state- and constituency-level votes. The most recent parliament had 32 overhang seats, taking the total up to 631 MPs. This allows voters to represent their interests locally through their chosen representative, as well as nationally in the party they feel will be strongest in the Bundestag. In the end, the seat share for each party ends up very similar to their vote share - unlike the system used in the UK's parliamentary elections. Graphic: The German electoral system So who will win the German election and when will we know the results? Merkel's CDU is looking most likely to win the most seats in the Bundestag - for the fourth election in a row. The SPD, led by former President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, is in second place in the polls - securing around a quarter of the vote. The AfD - the far-right Alternative for Germany party - had enjoyed a slight rise in the polls in 2016 but have since collapsed into in-fighting and unpopularity. German election projected seat share In reality, the CDU will have to seek a coalition agreement with the SPD or one of the other minor parties to form a government. We should know who has won the election by 6pm BST this Sunday, when voting ends and the exit poll is released, although it won't be several more weeks until a coalition government is officially agreed. The return of the far-right A late surge in support has propelled the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party into third place in the opinion polls with just days to go before the ballot. Last time around the party, fighting in it's first federal election, failed to win a constituency outright and fell just short of the five per cent required in order to secure MPs via the secondary proportional representation stage of the election. The rise of the AfD This time however they seem guaranteed to win representation in the Bundestag with the latest polling average putting them at slightly over 10 per cent. YouGov's Multilevel Regression with Poststratification model puts them on 12 per cent. Were the AfD to secure a third place finish they could find themselves becoming the main opposition party in Germany if Merkel's CDU/CSU party decide to extend their Grand Coalition with the SPD. AfD support mapped Potential coalitions The centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) has been in coalition with centre-right CDU in this current government, as well as in Merkel's first term. These two parties are Germany’s biggest, leading to a union dubbed the "Grand Coalition". The polls are currently suggesting that Germans are content with their current government, which means a Grand Coalition could happen for a third time in just four elections. Another option is a Black-Yellow coalition, consisting of Merkel's CDU party propped up by the smaller Free Democratic Party (FDP). This would take Merkel over the target needed for a majority, and was the option the party opted for in 2009-2013. The only situation that poses a risk to Merkel’s leadership is a left-wing "Red-Red-Green" coalition, led by the SPD's Martin Schulz. For this, he would have to gather enough seats together alongside the Linke (Left) and Grüne (Greens) parties. German election coalition scenarios What do the parties stand for? The main parties standing in the election are as follows: Christian Democrats (CDU): The leading party in Germany, headed by Angela Merkel. The centre-right group - made up of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) - they have employment, tax cuts and ongoing public investment at the forefront of their manifesto. Social Democrats (SPD): Led by Martin Schulz, the centre-left are vying to make another Grand Coalition to remain in government. The party polled well following the election of their new leader, but then suffered once again in regional polls. The SPD is a traditionally working class party, pledging investment in education and infrastructure, funded by higher taxes for the rich. Left (Linke): Led by Sahra Wagenknecht and loosely descended from the East German communists. This small party, often used as a protest vote, is campaigning for a rise in national minimum wage, a rejection of military missions abroad and the dissolution of NATO. Green (Grüne): Led by co-chairs Katrin Göring-Eckardt and Cem Özdemir, this party could be the coalition kingmakers. They rely on educated, urban citizens, focusing on the environment, taxes and social policies. Free Democratic Party (FDP): Led by Christian Lindner, the party was Merkel's junior coalition party in her second term. It failed to reach five per cent of the vote to allow another coalition in 2013. The party campaigns for tax cuts and to remain in financial markets - particularly within the EU. Alternative for Germany (AfD): A right-wing populist party lead by Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland. The party's hardline anti-EU, anti-immigration views have attracted voters from almost all of the other parties, especially among lower income households. Graphic: Germany’s political spectrum What are the betting odds for the German Bundestag election? Political pollsters have taken a beating recently after failing to predict a British Hung Parliament in 2017, a Leave vote last summer and a Donald Trump victory in November. For those who have lost faith in polling, there is another way of predicting electoral outcomes: ask people who are prepared to put their money where their mouth is. Many now believe that political betting markets can better predict elections, relying on the wisdom of a crowd of punters to sort and weigh all the probabilities. Coral's latest odds for the election have Mrs Merkel as most likely to continue as Chancellor after the election. The latest odds for the party to emerge with the most seats are: CDU/ CSU - 1/100 SPD - 16/1 AfD - 100/1 Die Linke - 100/1 Greens - 100/1 FDP - 100/1 Our poll tracker takes in national polls from a range of German pollsters: INSA, Infratest Dimap, Emnid, Forsa, Forschungsgruppe Wahlen, Allensbach and IPSOS. Their individual polls, while of different sample sizes, use nationally representative samples. Our seat share projection is based on the average of the last eight polls, excluding any parties that are polling at under five per cent, as the German proportional top-up system does.
Hillary Clinton told MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid that she believes German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the most important leader in the free world ― an extraordinary assessment by a former presidential candidate, U.S. secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady, and a remark likely to be seen as an affront to President Donald Trump.
When Professor Reb Beatty of Maryland’s Anne Arundel Community College arrived at his accounting class to administer a test last week, he hardly could have imagined that he’d be the one getting outsmarted. In a Sept. 20 Facebook post that’s since gone viral, Beatty explained that he’d told his students that they were allowed to bring in a “3x5” cheat sheet to use during the test. Beatty, however, failed to specify the unit of measurement he was referring to.
Nibiru conspiracy theories about the end of the world have been circulating online for more than two decades, with the latest dubious prophecy predicting the apocalypse - September 23, 2017. Planet X, or Nibiru, refers to a mythological planet in our solar system that will supposedly crash into Earth and wipe out the human race, however it has been consistently dismissed by Nasa and other experts as an internet hoax. Despite absolutely no scientific evidence to back up the suggestions of a rogue planet getting rapidly closer to Earth, myths about Planet X continue to be perpetuated online. End of the world (23 Sept 2017) Of course, this isn't the first time time harbingers of doom have predicted the end of time; Nasa also had to deny the existence of Nibiru in 2012. Throughout history there have been similar claims, but thankfully none of them so far have been proved correct. How did conspiracy theories about Planet X start? Online chatter about Nibiru began back in 1995 when Wisconsin native Nancy Lieder created the alien-conspiracy website ZetaTalk. Ms Lieder claims to be a conduit for aliens from the Zeta Reticuli star system, 39.17 light years from Earth, who have warned her about the Nibiru catastrophe. The conspiracy theory hasn’t gone away, with so-called Christian numerologist David Meade claiming Planet X is heading in our direction. Meade believes October could see the start The Rapture and a seven-year tribulation period of widescale natural disasters. Why September 23? It has been claimed an unusual celestial arrangement mirroring signs from the Bible’s Book of Revelation, September 23, will signal the start of the end of the world. However, the EarthSky blog notes there will be “nothing unique” about the sun, moon and planets on the date. “In the past 1,000 years, this same event has happened at least four times already, in 1827, 1483, 1293, and 1056,” explains astronomer Christopher M. Graney. Haven’t we been here before? Mars, with Earth visible in background Credit: Getty This isn't the first time the apocalypse has been predicted: 1844 American Baptist teacher William Miller first shared publicly his belief in the coming Second Advent of Jesus Christ in 1833, predicting he would return in the year 1843. The Millerites were his followers and Millerism became a national movement, however when Jesus didn’t arrive, October 22, 1844, became known as the Great Disappointment. 1997 Twenty years ago, 29 members of Heaven’s Gate, a UFO religious millenarian group, committed suicide with the aim of boarding a UFO they believed was hiding behind the Hale-Bopp comet before the supposed end of the world. 2003 Planet X was also supposedly discovered by the ancient Sumerian people and was meant to hit Earth in 2003, but never arrived. “This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012 and linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012,” say Nasa. 2011 The end of the world was also supposed to arrive on 21 May 2011, with Christian doomsday prophet Harold Camping predicting the Rapture would begin at 18:00 in each of the world's time zones, wiping out nay-sayers with rolling earthquakes as believers ascended to heaven. 2012 Nasa had to debunk an ancient Maya prophecy theory about the world ending back in 2012. The Mayan connection “was a misconception from the very beginning,” astrophysicist Dr. John Carlson said at the time. “The Maya calendar did not end on Dec. 21, 2012, and there were no Maya prophecies foretelling the end of the world on that date." 2015 Chris McCann, leader and founder of the eBible fellowship, said the world would be engulfed and destroyed by a great fire on October 7. McCann said he was "surprised" by the outcome and wrote a blog post entitled: "A response to being incorrect with the prediction that, in all likelihood, the world would end on October 7." What does Nasa say this time? Nasa is confident the world won't end Credit: AFP Nasa has definitively dismissed wild theories about Nibiru as pseudoscience, issuing a number of statements denying its existence. “Various people are ‘predicting’ that world will end on September 23 when another planet collides with Earth,” say Nasa. “The planet in question, Nibiru, doesn't exist, so there will be no collision. The story of Nibiru has been around for years (as has the 'days of darkness' tale) and is periodically recycled into new apocalyptic fables.” They add: “Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an internet hoax. There is no factual basis for these claims. If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth … astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye. Obviously, it does not exist. “Eris is real, but it is a dwarf planet similar to Pluto that will remain in the outer solar system; the closest it can come to Earth is about 4 billion miles.” Nasa fake news and the days of darkness tale A fake news story being widely shared online suggests Nasa has confirmed Earth will experience 15 days of complete darkness in November 2015. Another fake news video claims that Nasa has found Nibiru and confirmed it is heading straight for us. Debunking website Snopes explains the “days of darkness” tale is a “bit of fake news lifted from an older viral rumour” They say that it “had already been around the online block several times before,” adding, “it has long since become an evergreen online hoax — a jape that is typically resurrected a few times a year by dubious websites that simply update the time span for the alleged ‘period of darkness’ and send it winging around the internet again. What do other experts say? Nick Pope, who used to investigate UFOs and other mysteries for the Ministry of Defence, says “Nibiru doesn't exist”. He adds: “The world won't end on September 23. Shame on the people promoting this hoax in the name of evangelical Christianity.” Mr Pope told The Telegraph: “I'm certain Nibiru doesn't exist because if there really was a rogue planet heading for Earth, due to hit on Saturday, it would be visible to the naked eye by now. “Furthermore, astronomers would have been aware of its presence for years, both through direct observation and through gravitational effects on other planets in the solar system.” Why are some people so keen to promote this conspiracy? “The people promoting this prediction seem to be doing so because of religious belief, tenuously linking the recent eclipse with Biblical passages, including one from the Book of Revelations,” Pope says. “I suspect the reasons include self-publicity and the desire to promote their particular brand of evangelical Christianity.” Is there anything we should be worried about? “All this isn't to say that there aren't some existential threats out there, but if people want to worry about something, they should probably worry about North Korean missiles, or about Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, not about Nibiru,” Pope adds. “There have been countless previous predictions of the end of the world. Self-evidently all these predictions were false. September 23 will pass without incident, just as we safely negotiated all the previous dates that had been put forward as doomsday.” Google Home spreads bizarre conspiracy theory A prepper's guide to everything you need to survive the apocalypse
By Michael O'Boyle and Noe Torres MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A magnitude 6.2 aftershock that shook Mexico on Saturday was blamed for five deaths, spreading fear among anxious residents reeling from a string of natural disasters and interrupting the search for survivors from a bigger tremor earlier this week. The Popocatepetl volcano south of Mexico City sent a column of ash into the sky, capping an intense period of seismic activity including two powerful tremors this month that have killed more than 400 people and caused damage of up to $8 billion. Mexico's capital was shattered by Tuesday's magnitude 7.1 quake that flattened dozens of buildings and killed at least 307 people.